Top-10 finish for UK swimming and diving at SEC Championships

Staff report | @KYKernelSports

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The UK swimming and diving team finished its participation in the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas, on Saturday.

The five-day event culminated with the men’s side scoring 452.5 points and the women’s squad accumulating 368.5 points.

Both teams placed ninth in the overall standings.

“We had some great swims today and throughout the week,” UK swimming head coach Gary Conelly said to UK Athletics on Saturday. “I am very proud of both of the teams, especially the way the men performed after having to overcome a DQ in the 200 medley in the opening day. Our divers were the heart of both of our teams’ finishes. We had 20 top-10 finishes and 68 personal-best times.”

That disqualification in the men’s 200-medley relay came after the Cats were deemed guilty of an early takeoff.

“Our fourth guy left .02 seconds early,” Conelly said.

There were no such problems for the men’s 800-freestyle relay, as the Cats came in at 10th place.

The women’s team also came in at 10th in both the 800-freestyle relay and the 200-medley relay.

UK’s divers enjoyed a successful start to the championships when junior Greg Ferrucci finished second in the 1-meter springboard competition.

Competing in his first event since sustatining a thumb injury on Jan. 5 in Tennessee, Ferrucci scored a season-high 389.4.

In the second day of action, junior swimmer Lucas Gerotto and senior swimmer Tripp Crosthwaite both broke the school record in the 200-individual medley as they finished inside the top-20.

Freshman diver Rebecca Hamperian progressed to the final of the 1-meter springboard event, finishing in eighth place with a score of 283.85.

The day was rounded off by an eighth-place swim in the women’s 200-freestyle relay. Freshman Laura Dawson, sophomore Christina Bechtel and seniors Megan Eppler and Mandy Myers collaborated to stop the clock at 1:32.06.

Day three saw Ferrucci seal his second second place of the championships in the men’s 3-meter springboard final. Junior Corey Cowger and senior John Fox also made the final for UK.

“I’m very pleased with our guys and the way they handled their emotions and pressure,” said UK dive head coach Ted Hautau. “Greg Ferrucci did a fantastic job for as little time as he has had on the 3-meter.”

Senior swimmer Maclin Simpson reached the final in the men’s 400-individual medley, while Gerotto came 14th in the 100-butterfly.

Myers, Bechtel and Dawson sealed top-20 finishes in the women’s 100-butterfly.

Day four saw sophomore diver Christa Cabot finish fourth in the women’s platform, while Gerotto placed sixth in the men’s 100-backstroke.

On day five, Ferrucci finished eighth in the men’s platform diving competition, breaking the school record in the preliminary rounds.

Eppler, Myers, Dawson and sophomore Blair Kuethe came ninth in the women’s 400-freestyle relay.

UK heads to Knoxville, Tenn., this weekend with one last chance to qualify for the 2013 NCAA Championships.